Honors Colloquium

Our biannual book discussion and common reading for all students in the Honors College
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What is ​Colloquium?

Each semester, all Honors College students explore a new topic through a common reading.  We come together for one night over a meal and share thoughts in small groups led by university faculty and staff members.  Generally, the discussion is accompanied by a keynote, expert panel, or other group activity.  

Colloquium topics are drawn from all areas of study.  Recent topics have included books on honesty, free speech, DNA and genetics, local food movements and sustainability, economics, immigration and American identities, and victorian vampires.  We read novels, non-fiction, and sometimes even graphic novels and comics.  Colloquium is never the same twice, and by the time you graduate you'll have read a diversity of topics that help stretch your knowledge in news and unexpected ways.  

Faculty & Staff interested in participating should contact the Honors College office​ for more information or to sign up to be a table leader.

Past Colloquium topics

2018-19: Facing Failure - A Year of Learning from Mistakes

  • Spring '19: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by ​Dan Eagan
  • Fall '18: Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margins of Error by Kathryn Schulz

2017-18: The Year of Conversation

  • Spring '18: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by ​Krystal Sutherland
  • Fall '17: How Does it Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi

2016-17: The Year of Curiosity

  • Spring '17: What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
  • Fall '16: Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes​ 

2015-16  

  • Spring '16: Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
  • Fall '15: Unlearning Liberty by Greg Lukianoff

2014-15

  • Spring '15: Running the Books by Avi Steinberg
  • ​Fall '14: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely

2013-14

  • Spring '14: Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Fall '13: The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen​

2012-13

  • Spring '13: Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie - A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss​
  • Fall '12: The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman

2011-12

  • Spring '12: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Fall '11: The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt​

2010-11

  • Spring '11: "Introduction to Freud's Dream Psychology" by Andre Tridon & "A Counterblast in the War on Freud: The Shrink is In" by Jonathan Lear
  • Fall '10: Apology by Plato​

2009-10

  • Spring '10: Satchmo: the Genius of Louis Armstrong by Gary Giddins​
  • Fall '09: Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet by Steve Squyres

2008-09

  • Spring '09: Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington & Amartya Sen
  • Fall '08: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis

2007-08

  • Spring '08: The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer & Jim Mason​
  • Fall '07: "Pearls Before Breakfast" by Gene Weingarten, Washington Post

Upcoming book: Fall 2018

Book Cover imageFall 2018 - Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz

​​Bill Clinton called it "a brilliant book with a sweeping grasp of philosophy and physics and all points in between." Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust chose it as the book she wishes every Harvard freshman would read. Read more about Kathryn Schulz's Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error below.

***

To err is human. Yet most of us go through life tacitly assuming (and sometimes noisily insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher. If being wrong is so natural, why are we all so bad at imagining that our beliefs could be mistaken – and why do we typically react to our errors with surprise, denial, defensiveness and shame?

In Being Wrong, journalist Kathryn Schulz explores why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error corrodes our relationships—whether between family members, colleagues, neighbors, or nations. Along the way, she takes us on a fascinating tour of human fallibility, from wrongful convictions to no-fault divorce, medical mistakes to misadventures at sea, failed prophecies to false memories, “I told you so!” to “Mistakes were made.” Drawing on thinkers as varied as Augustine, Darwin, Freud, Gertrude Stein, Alan Greenspan, and Groucho Marx, she proposes a new way of looking at wrongness. In this view, error is both a given and a gift – one that can transform our worldviews, our relationships, and, most profoundly, ourselves.

In the end, Being Wrong is not just an account of human error but a tribute to human creativity – to the ways we generate and revise our beliefs about ourselves and the world. At a moment when economic, political, and religious dogmatism increasingly divide us, Schulz explores the seduction of certainty and the crisis occasioned by error with uncommon humor and eloquence. A brilliant debut from a new voice in nonfiction, this book calls on us to ask one of life’s most challenging questions: what if I’m wrong?